In need of a quick rumor fix or two? How about five? Welcome to FOX Soccer's Rumor Redux. With club action across the globe, we'll offer you the best rumors that tickled our fancy on Saturday. To start, we must address the ongoing transfer saga between David Beckham and Ligue 1 giants PSG. Recently, PSG chief Nasser al-Khelaïfi has confirmed his desire to lure Becks to Paris when his contact with LA Galaxy expires after this season. With the Galaxy's semifinal match against Real Salt Lake tomorrow night, one can't help but wonder if that will be Beckham's final game in LA should the Galaxy fall at home to their conference rival. We can only wait and see how this will unfold. And with that, we move to today's top rumors, a list distilled from this morning's Paper Chase.
Maicon, D, Inter
Rumor: headed to Real Madrid. Likelihood: very low. By now, we have all read about the proposed interest Real Madrid has had on the Brazilian defender for some time. Since their time together at Inter, Maicon and Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho have an appreciation for one another, which is why we understand the constant flirtation between player and manager. But are we really that naïve to believe Marca’s report of Madrid’s renewed interest in the Brazilian international in January? With Madrid’s top form and Inter’s struggles, we just cannot picture Maicon leaving the San Siro for a club that might not even offer regular place with the likes of Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Fabio Coentrao, and Alvaro Arbeloa in the winger back position. If Maicon is really the best right back defender in the world and wants to secure a spot in the Brazilian national team in 2014, he needs to secure minutes at a place where he is truly needed. The ‘bromance’ that he shares with Mourinho is good for message board chatter, but doesn’t make sense from a football standpoint.
Maxi Lopez, F, Catania
Rumor: headed to AC Milan. Likelihood: low. If the season has already been difficult for AC Milan, Antonio Cassano’s heart condition further complicates the options for Massimiliano Allegri, who in the past few hours has started to look for a new striker for the winter market. After surveying several possibilities, reports from Tuttosport suggest that the Rossoneri have nominated the former River Plate and Barcelona forward as the player to temporarily replace Cassano’s spot in the squad. After arriving to Catania in 2010, Lopez has enjoyed a fruitful start this season, having netted 2 goals in 6 games for the ‘Gli Elefanti.’ Surprisingly enough, Catania sits fifth in the Serie A standings, and the Argentine forward has much to do with the club’s early success in Italian football. As entertaining as it would be to see a Lopez and Zlatan Ibrahimovic pairing in attack (a combined 3.86 m in height ), it’s difficult to argue that Catania will allow the lanky striker to leave to a league rival. Besides, with options like Ibrahimovic, Robinho, Aleaxandre Pato, Stephan El Shaarawy, and Filippo Inzaghi available for Milan in attack, the move for Lopez doesn’t make sense, which is why we’re not buying this rumor one bit.
Raul Albiol, D, Real Madrid
Rumor: headed to Arsenal. Likelihood: low. It seems that Arsenal have placed Real Madrid in the spotlight when assessing the various optionS with which to strengthen its workforce during the winter transfer market. This time, the Gunners are reportedly interested in bringing the former Valencia defender to Emirates Stadium for a whopping €25.5 million in January. Before Jose Mourinho’s arrival to Madrid last season, Albiol enjoyed regular playing time under Manuel Pellegrini (33 league games) and played a key part in the club’s future plans. Wanting to secure a place in Spain’s squad for Euro 2012 next summer, the 26-year-old could entertain the offer from the London club as reported by Caught Offside. However, with Arsenal in the running for virtually every prospect in the market today, it’s difficult to say just how much Arsene Wenger and his crew wants the Spanish defender’s services; especially with the investments in Per Mertesacker, Thomas Vermaelen, and Laurent Koscielny at the center back position. We need more ‘wooing’ from Arsenal before we can elevate this rumor to a respectable level.
Angel di Maria, W, Real Madrid
Rumor: headed to Manchester City. Likelihood: low. Still ambitious and downright insatiable, Manchester City is looking to the net on another big fish. This time, the Citizens have set their eyes on the Real Madrid winger, who ironically, has also been mentioned in transfer circles with arch-rivals Manchester United this upcoming January. With the massive financial backing from ownership and the gradual evolution of the football project at Etihad Stadium, many believe that City’s spending for big talent will not end anytime, which is why the interest for a player like di Maria’s stature is understandable to say the least. As reported by Bunker Footy Web, Roberto Mancini seems enamored with the Argentine’s speed, technique, and ability to hit the back of the net. Only problem for Mancini is that Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho currently has ‘El Flaco’ in his long-term agenda. Call us cynical, but we don’t think that the 23-year-old will switch to the Premier League anytime soon. Di Maria is enjoying a terrific run with ‘Los Merengues’ and is getting regular PT at the Santiago Bernabeu. Why on earth would he want to give that up now?
Josep Guardiola, manager, FC Barcelona
Rumor: signed contract extension Likelihood: high. The most anticipated news within the Barcelona camp still revolves around the future of Pep Guardiola, who’s signed until the end of the 2011-2012 campaign. Preferring on one-year extensions instead of a standard long-term contract has led many to believe that Guardiola could leave the Catalan giants to the Premier League riches at season’s end. According to Sport, contract negotiations are going ‘smoothly’ for the two-time UEFA Champions League winner, which could the settle the nerves of club supporters, players, and the club board alike. With once being quoted as saying that “there is a risk that you lose your passion for what you do when you sign a long-term contract,” it’s understandable why Guardiola’s contract saga has everyone on pins and needles. Think about it now. While we recognize why Pep would leave Camp Nou for a new football challenge, we just can see him leaving Barcelona at this time. The two go togehter like spaghetti and meatball, and with world-class players at his disposal and no high-profile EPL openings available, then why would he? It just doesn’t make sense to us either.